Dedicated to anyone who loves oysters as much as I do, this issue chronicles a totally dreamy trip through the shores of West Marin, California, where the oysters are in glorious abundance. Any takers? Sigh.
The Make this week comes from cheeky, lovely Jessica Seinfeld, who has written a definitive guide on how to put down your fear, and pick up a knife in the kitchen. The book humorously holds your hand through preparing its delicious and accessible recipes. Score. Give it to your friends who can't cook (yes, they can!).
My old friend Richard Sinnott (Creative Director of Accessories at Michael Kors) was referencing how essential vintage fashions are to modern designers, so we got to thinking it would be of service to round up some of the best of the best and ask the proprietors/curators for their favorite in stock looks.
P.S. Oh, it's definitely your f@$*ing city.
This week’s goop collaboration
Oyster Hopping & Other Adventures: 24 Hours in West Marin
West Marin, just over an hour north of downtown San Francisco, is a gem in the bay area for anyone into food, nature and long drives through stunning landscapes. Our 24-hour guide takes you oyster farm hopping, cheese tasting, secluded lodging and more...
Set your navigation to 23240 California 1, the northern most point on the itinerary. The drive from San Fran to West Marin on Highway 1 is sinuous, but breathtaking. Put together a dope playlist and head out of the city in the late AM, against the traffic.
Make sure to take extra care with your knife when shucking, with the blade facing away from you. Also make sure your oysters are scrubbed clean (most of the oyster farms do this for you).
Using a clean towel or glove, hold the oyster down with one hand with the opening facing away from you. Stick your oyster knife through the back of the oyster (the hinge) with the blade angled down. Twist the knife upward to pop the hinge.
Slide the knife along the length of the shell at the opening and twist the knife again at the opposite side to remove the top shell.
Starting on the left, sweep the knife underneath the oyster to loosen the meat from the shell. Check for any pieces of broken shell and remove, being careful not to lose too much of the liquid. Serve on ice with horseradish, mignonette and/or cocktail sauce.
Begin at one of the most famous farms in the area. You’ll usually have to book ahead to shuck-your-own at the picnic tables, and a reservation includes a grill and all the oyster apparatus you may need. On the weekends, they open up their oyster bar called The Boat, where they serve shucked oysters, wine, beer and local cheese.
"Are you one of those people who screams in terror at the suggestion of cooking? Do you harbor guilt and shame because you know cooking costs less and is better for you, but still see it as a dreadful experience? Or are you just looking for new, simple recipes to get you in and out of the kitchen quickly, yet somewhat healthfully? Are you somewhere in between? I wrote this book for you. All of you."
"Over the years, I've gotten lots of calls from friends asking me to get them through a meal. So often, I’m walking the streets of Manhattan, spouting off recipes and instructions. I realized I should give them recipes written just as I speak them –without tons of cooking jargon, only a few easy steps and without difficult techniques."
"After writing and handing off these recipes, I asked my friends for follow-up notes on where they got tripped up. The seeds of the Can't Cook mindset come from those notes. Also, living with a Can’t Cook means I have a permanent lab rat in my husband in understanding what is difficult for even the most organized, thoughtful, and accomplished person (btw, "lab rat" is his term, not mine)."
"I created this guide for those born without the culinary gene. I meant it to be the first cookbook for the beginner cook or the prequel to the cookbooks collecting dust in the kitchen. It certainly acts as a prequel to my first two books. All of these recipes are designed for your ease, comfort and success. Using just a few ingredients, little in the way of equipment and gear, and minimal steps and as little knife use as possible, I've got 100+ recipes in here just for you."
"I've watched these recipes work time and time again for the most fearful kitchen-phobic novice. It's time to take the shoes and newspapers out of your stove. Let's fire it up, Honey. We're going in."
We hesitate to call this a vintage guide because it doesn’t capture the essence of what the shops we’ve gathered below are. They are so much more than that. They are run by true obsessives, scholars, men and women who can spot a 1966 vs. a 1968 YSL women’s tuxedo on the street, who can call out a fake Chanel jacket from a sample of thread.
Lily et Cie in Beverly Hills may just be the original fashion archive, the store that made vintage acceptable, wearable and cool. Owner Rita Watkin, known to be notoriously prickly (to us she was a peach), is a true character with encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion. Her story: before founding Lily et Cie, she worked at Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Valentino and YSL. One day, she inherited a prestigious collection of 20th Century fashion (that today rivals that of the Met and the Louvre) from a close family friend. She stored it for years until word spread and she finally opened up shop in the 80’s. On a visit years ago, we spotted John Galliano and his entourage (circa the Christian Dior years) taking notes and seeking inspiration.
Cameron Silver and Christos Garkinos, aka The Dukes of Melrose, run a vintage store so revered in Hollywood that it had its own TV show on Bravo. In fact, Cameron has literally written the book on fashion. It’s name? Decades. Hand-picked items are displayed in their deluxe boutique in such a way that customers can truly see each piece for what it is – vintage couture. Cameron says it best, “When Decades opened in 1997, vintage was still rather socially unacceptable and people were turned off by wearing something ‘used.’ However, Decades educated the savvy fashionista that vintage is a modern way to differentiate your style and the edit has always been about 'vintage that looks modern.'"
60's Norman Norell
"There isn't a season that goes by that a designer doesn't reference the iconic Norman Norell mermaid gowns of the 1960's. Marc Jacobs recently showed several variations. Whether fully covered like a second skin or a more bare halter style, the flat paillettes look magically applied to the body in a very sensual manner that remains timeless nearly 60 years after this dress was designed. This is pure glamour."
"One of the big trends this fall is the introduction of the oversized bold pattern coat. Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo have both proposed this fresh silhouette in recent collections. This is a late 70’s Courreges check coat that has the spirit of the current runway looks."
Early 80’s Kenzo
"Everyone’s mad for plaid this season, and the grunge-redux look can easily be luxe'd up with a vintage Kenzo shirt. I love this worn casually with jeans or a leather legging. Don't be afraid to wear it tied around your waist with a tank top for a rocker-chic vibe."
Ruth Myers, a true vintage fiend and the costume designer for movies like L.A. Confidential, Emma and The Addams Family, gives us her top list of vintage dealers in the two cities she calls home, LA and London.
"In London, I love the stalls in Alfie's Market. Tintin is incredibly classy, and the owner Leslie is a font of knowledge and has wonderful treasures, as does June Victor on the top floor. I also love the basement at Gray’s Antique Market off Bond Street, Portobello market on Saturday mornings and Annie's, Cloud Cuckoo Land and Dreamtime in Camden Passage, Islington, and it's always worth a trail through Camden Market."